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Author: Thomas Howland

What is it that sets The Patriots apart from the rest of the NFL teams

In the middle of December last year the Boston Globe wrote whether it is the end of a dynasty for the Patriots? An unthinkable defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers was what prompted that question. The Boston Globe thought that the 9-5 defeat was an embarrassment to the incomparable record of the Patriots. The uncharacteristic defeat prompted another Globe writer to ask whether this was the same Patriots team as the previous year. And yet come 3rd February the Patriots had won another Super Bowl for their bulky trophy cabinet. Once again it was their year, as it always is. [embedded content] The Patriots are touted for another strong season in 2019 as they have retained the shape of their squad. In the last ten years the Patriots’ odds have opened at 10/1 as favourites. They are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the Super Bowl LIV too. Additionally, key players returning from injury will have an added benefit for the team. Taking this into account the easy availability of NFL Betting odds with a trusted aggregator have got the punters excited ahead of the new season. The aggregator presents various other exciting offers such as free bets on signing on, enhanced odds and betting tips are also available. The case of Stephen Anderson You have to look no further than the Patriot’s tight end Stephen Anderson’s view of the massive...

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Changes For Pedroia? Cora’s Got This

Spring training is kicking into high gear, with pitchers and catchers reported and the rest of the players streaming in daily. One of the great things is Alex Cora’s regular press conferences. Today he had some things to say about changes for Dustin Pedroia, among other things: Alex Cora meets with the press at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers Still The Laser Show The money quote comes around the 4:30 mark. When asked about Dustin Pedroia this was his answer: “He’s in Tom Brady mode…He’s been doing it since 2006, so nothing’s different.” Alex Cora on Dustin Pedroia It is Cora’s bond with his players, especially with his former padawan Pedroia, that allow him to know them inside out, and coach them appropriately. Cora kicks off his answer about Pedroia with this positive comment, comparing him with the GOAT, before getting to the heart of the issue. Slowing Down Earlier today Pedroia had his opening press conference. And, as Sean McAdam writes, his career is filled with uncertainty. “I’ve definitely worked pretty hard to get to this point, but I’m taking it one step at a time.” Dustin Pedroia from Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers FL Cora laid out the new plan for the hard charging D-Ped: “He know’s there’s certain days that there’s…no on the field stuff for him” This is, frankly, a complete sea change...

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Review – Alex Cora: The Making Of A Champion

Last night on the MLB Network they ran their MLB Network Presents series Alex Cora: The Making of a Champion. It was an in depth and poignant piece on our manager, a tremendous watch. The story starts and ends from his home town of Caguas Puerto Rico, from his childhood straight through to his current place as the first Big League manager from Puerto Rico. Oh, and through that incredible Red Sox season in 2018. Here are some highlights: Heartbreak at home Screengrab from MLB Network Is pain a friend of yours? Have you suffered heartbreak and loss? Alex Cora is shoulder to shoulder with you. Several times he speaks about losing his Father when he was 13 years old, and how that has shaped him. Seeing him well up while talking about looking at the family seats in Dodger Stadium during the World Series and wishing his Dad was there is tough. On the other hand: Seeing him handing out supplies in Caguas at the beginning of the story, then celebrating with the World Series trophy at the end, is incredibly uplifting. His love for his homeland is so familiar to our love for our cities and towns here in New England. There’s a fierce loyalty that speaks the same language. And the family bond is a beautiful thing. I mean who wouldn’t want a Mother like this:...

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Unfinished Business

The Patriots just finished up winning their Sixth Super Bowl. After seeing Brady, Edleman, and Belichick embracing and talking about still being here, and the post-game comments from Robert and Jonathan Kraft that were giddy but edged, it all adds up to one thing: The Patriots have unfinished business. What else do they need to accomplish? They are being compared to the greatest dynasties in all sports. Brady arguments are starting with Jordan and Russell, not Montana and Starr. This team once finished a season 18-1. That nasty taste in the back of all Patriots fans throats is still there. The Patriots have very few goals left to achieve. Let’s look at what might very well be in store for the 2019 off-season. It Starts With Motivation The Patriots 13-3 win was by the biggest margin in their Super Bowl history. But according to most outlets, this was a boring Super Bowl. No buzz. More an indictment on the Rams and Sean McVay than a Patriots win. Sure, there’s the occasional 2/3rds of the Ringer football staff, or Greg Bedard, who champion this team’s accomplishments. But this is a taste of what you get when you search ‘Patriots boring’ into google: Don’t think for a minute Coach Belichick hasn’t noticed. We just saw what happens when Belichick regains control of the team and uses motivation to maximum effect. Again,...

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Get Ready Red Sox Fans

It’s here. Spring training baseball is ramping up and seam-heads across the land are readying to descend upon waiting tourist traps in Florida and Arizona. The Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers officially report on Wednesday, February 13th. Let’s get ready to defend the title. Sights and Sounds The Mets GM gets it. It’s the sights and sounds. When I flip through the files as I’m working on my taxes I hear the snap, crackle, pop of baseballs hitting gloves. Boy would that long haired dude look good in a Red Sox uniform. Ain’t that a sight. Jet Blue Park is a great destination, the facilities are top notch, and you better believe there’s a lot of pomp and circumstance with a World Series Championship to celebrate. Speaking of celebrations… Alex Cora’s Getting His Closeup On Tuesday February 12th at 9pm EST, the MLB Network has their latest ‘MLB Network Presents‘ on Alex Cora. We all know Cora presses all the right buttons in the playoffs, but there’s a lot more to his story. We’ll be back on Wednesday with some highlights. Rules, Glorious Rules There’s a bunch of horse-trading going on between the players and ownership regarding all sorts of rules changes. Pitch clocks, universal DHs and even less mound visits, oh my! Speed up the action, it’s not complicated. Debate about Barnes There’s some scuttlebutt about the...

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Meet Matt Barnes: Red Sox Closer

When news crackled off the wire that the Red Sox had signed Jenrry Mejia it was confirmed: The Red Sox payroll problems are real, and they’re spectacular. The only relief help walking through that door is the thrice failed, suspended-for-life, then reinstated kind. While wandering eyes look for a free agent, there’s a stalwart right in front of us. Matt Barnes is the most reliable, time tested, experienced, and talented holdover whose time has come. Matt Barnes should be The Closer for the Red Sox. Slow and steady wins the race Let’s be honest: If Craig Kimbrel would sign a two year, $20 million deal he would be the closer. But he’s worth more, and the Red Sox won’t pay him. So we have Barnes. Ryan Brasier came out of nowhere to deliver last year. But the book on him is still being written. You better believe the hitters will catch up with him this year. Then there is Matt Barnes. Check out his three year progression in ERA/WHIP/K per 9/Ground Ball %: 2016: 4.05/1.395/9.6/46% 2017: 3.88/1.220/10.7/49% 2018: 3.65/1.265/14.0/53% Unlike Brasier, or even Thornburg, Barnes forged his record in the crucible of the AL East. Sure, he walks a few, that’s why his WHIP isn’t closer to 1.0, but his progression is one of an artist honing his craft. He has steadily produced more strikeouts and ground balls. That...

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Tom Brady is Jon Snow, Not The Night King

Let’s face it. People hate the Patriots. There’s talk of the evil empire, polls showing the vast majority don’t want the Patriots to win. To most of America, the New England Patriots are The Army Of The Dead of the NFL. But America’s got it wrong. Tom Brady isn’t evil, he’s Jon Snow, AKA Aegon Targaryen, reborn anew and here to save the pantheon of NFL greatness from the evil decay of mediocrity and one hit wonders. Tom Snow/Brady Targaryen Brady was dead and buried after Super Bowl 52. Sure, he threw for a Super Bowl record 505 yards, but it was in a losing effort. Under the weight of Qyburn Wickersham’s story of intrigue and discord between Brady and Belichick from a few weeks before the big game, things weren’t looking good. And then the 2018 NFL season happened, and Brady wasn’t looking himself. It seemed that at 41 that unnameable undefeated specter, time, was defeating Brady: His lowest yards passing in a full season since 2014, his fewest touchdowns since 2013. But then the playoffs started, and Brady breathed deep and emerged as only a hero can. The Beginning 2003 Irrelevant Questions w/Tom Brady in Providence Journal Q: Anyone you’ve met that you were surprised was just as happy to meet you?A: Probably Steve Young and Joe Montana. I was definitely in awe to meet them and...

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